Martin Tallstrom Picks Foggy Mountain Breakdown

When I first heard Earl Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Breakdown, I just had to get a banjo. That was one of the first songs I learned… and after a while I had it down pretty good. But after a few years of playing banjo, I decided to put it down- just seemed like it was getting in the way of my acoustic guitar playing. .. Well, I guess that was a good decision as I’m still going strong on guitar. But when I heard Martin Tallstrom with his Dueling Banjos, Jesse James and now Foggy Mountain Breakdown on the guitar with the 3 fingered banjo technique I thought, wow, why didn’t I think of that?

Martin does a few things tuning wise to make this work. He say”s he tunes down his low A string to a G. Here’s what he says:

“I use a drop-G tuning, (don´t know if it has a name(?), only the A string is retuned down to a G) because then you have the root notes of the three chords used, G major, E minor and D major, as open “bass” strings. Of course it doesn´t have to be played at such high tempo (but it should be!) – it´s a bit of a struggle (this is like the 100th take :)  I´ve also noticed this style seems to require some nail on the right hand, otherwise the overall sound may become a bit “blurred”. This is just an idea and it could be developed further, with more solo parts etc.”

Martin’s tab is avalable at TAB available at http://www.tallstrom.com

As far as his playing, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone three fingered roll pick Foggy Mountain Breakdown on the guitar, let alone do it this well.

Special thanks to Walt Birdwell for locating this video.

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